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one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress for that fiscal year, or involve the Government in any contract for the future payment of money in excess of such appropriations.

SEC. 3732. No contract or purchase on behalf of the United States shall be made unless the same is authorized by law or is under an appropriation adequate to its fulfillment, except in the War and Navy Departments, for clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters, or transportation, which, however, shall not exceed the necessities of the current year.

The object of these sections of the Revised Statutes is plain. It is, first, to prevent any money from being expended unless appropriations have been made therefor, and, second, to prevent the Government from being bound by any contract not previously authorized by law, except for certain necessary purposes in the War and Navy Departments.

Under the existing laws the failure of Congress to make the appropriations required for the execution of the provisions of the election laws would not prevent their enforcement. The right and duty to appoint the general and special deputy marshals which they provide for would still remain, and the executive department of the Government would also be empowered to incur the requisite liability for their compensation. But the second section of this bill contains a prohibition not found in any previous legislation. Its design is to render the election laws inoperative and a dead letter during the next fiscal year. It is sought to accomplish this by omitting to appropriate money for their enforcement and by expressly prohibiting any Department or officer of the Government from incurring any liability under any of the provisions of title 26 of the Revised Statutes authorizing the appointment or payment of general or special deputy marshals for service on election days until an appropriation sufficient to pay such liability shall have first been made.

The President is called upon to give his affirmative approval to positive enactments which in effect deprive him of the ordinary and necessary means of executing laws still left in the statute book and embraced within his constitutional duty to see that the laws are executed. If he approves the bill, and thus gives to such positive enactments the authority of law, he participates in the curtailment of his means of seeing that the law is faithfully executed, while the obligation of the law and of his constitutional duty remains unimpaired.

The appointment of special deputy marshals is not made by the statute a spontaneous act of authority on the part of any executive or judicial officer of the Government, but is accorded as a popular right of the citizens to call into operation this agency for securing the purity and freedom of elections in any city or town having 20,000 inhabitants or upward. Section 2021 of the Revised Statutes puts it in the power of any two citizens of such city or town to require of the marshal of the district the appointment of these special deputy marshals. Thereupon the duty of the marshal becomes imperative, and its nonperformance would expose him to judicial mandate or punishment or to removal from office by the President, as the circumstances of his conduct might require. The bill now before me neither revokes this popular right of the citizens, nor relieves the marshal of the duty imposed by law, nor the President of his duty to see that this law is faithfully executed.

I forbear to enter again upon any general discussion of the wisdom and necessity of the election laws or of the dangerous and unconstitutional principle of this bill–that the power vested in Congress to originate appropriations involves the right to compel the Executive to approve any legislation which Congress may see fit to attach to such bills, under the penalty of refusing the means needed to carry on essential functions of the Government. My views on these subjects have been sufficiently presented in the special messages sent by me to the House of Representatives during their present session. What was said in those messages I regard as conclusive as to my duty in respect to the bill before me. The arguments urged in those communications against the repeal of the election laws and against the right of Congress to deprive the Executive of that separate and independent discretion and judgment which the Constitution confers and requires are equally cogent in opposition to this bill. This measure leaves the powers and duties of the supervisors of elections untouched. The compensation of those officers is provided for under permanent laws, and no liability for which an appropriation is now required would therefore be incurred by their appointment. But the power of the National Government to protect them in the discharge of their duty at the polls would be taken away. The States may employ both civil and military power at the elections, but by this bill even the civil authority to protect Congressional elections is denied to the United States. The object is to prevent any adequate control by the United States over the national elections by forbidding the payment of deputy marshals, the officers who are clothed with authority to enforce the election laws.

The fact that these laws are deemed objectionable by a majority of both Houses of Congress is urged as a sufficient warrant for this legislation.

There are two lawful ways to overturn legislative enactments. One is their repeal; the other is the decision of a competent tribunal against their validity. The effect of this bill is to deprive the executive department of the Government of the means to execute laws which are not repealed, which have not been declared invalid, and which it is therefore the duty of the executive and of every other department of Government to obey and to enforce.

I have in my former message on this subject expressed a willingness to concur in suitable amendments for the improvement of the election laws; but I can not consent to their absolute and entire repeal, and I can not approve legislation which seeks to prevent their enforcement.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 27, 1879_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 595,[28] with the following objection to its becoming a law:

Doubts have arisen upon consideration of the bill as to whether Major Collins will be required under it to refund to the United States the pay and allowances received by him at the time he was mustered out of the service. Believing that it was not the intention of Congress to require such repayment, the bill is returned without my signature to the House in which it originated.


[Footnote 28: “An act to amend ‘An act for the relief of Joseph B. Collins, approved March 3, 1879.'”]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 30, 1879_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I return to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, the bill entitled “An act making appropriations to pay fees of United States marshals and their general deputies,” with the following objections to its becoming a law:

The bill appropriates the sum of $600,000 for the payment during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, of United States marshals and their general deputies. The offices thus provided for are essential to the faithful execution of the laws. They were created and their powers and duties defined by Congress at its first session after the adoption of the Constitution in the judiciary act which was approved September 24, 1789. Their general duties, as defined in the act which originally established them, were substantially the same as those prescribed in the statutes now in force.

The principal provision on the subject in the Revised Statutes is as follows:

SEC. 787. It shall be the duty of the marshal of each district to attend the district and circuit courts when sitting therein, and to execute throughout the district all lawful precepts directed to him and issued under the authority of the United States; and he shall have power to command all necessary assistance in the execution of his duty.

The original act was amended February 28, 1795, and the amendment is now found in the Revised Statutes in the following form:

SEC. 788. The marshals and their deputies shall have in each State the same powers in executing the laws of the United States as the sheriffs and their deputies in such State may have by law in executing the laws thereof.

By subsequent statutes additional duties have been from time to time imposed upon the marshals and their deputies, the due and regular performance of which are required for the efficiency of almost every branch of the public service. Without these officers there would be no means of executing the warrants, decrees, or other process of the courts, and the judicial system of the country would be fatally defective. The criminal jurisdiction of the courts of the United States is very extensive. The crimes committed within the maritime jurisdiction of the United States are all cognizable only in the courts of the United States. Crimes against public justice; crimes against the operations of the Government, such as forging or counterfeiting the money or securities of the United States; crimes against the postal laws; offenses against the elective franchise, against the civil rights of citizens, against the existence of the Government; crimes against the internal-revenue laws, the customs laws, the neutrality laws; crimes against laws for the protection of Indians and of the public lands–all of these crimes and many others can be punished only under United States laws, laws which, taken together, constitute a body of jurisprudence which is vital to the welfare of the whole country, and which can be enforced only by means of the marshals and deputy marshals of the United States. In the District of Columbia all of the process of the courts is executed by the officers in question. In short, the execution of the criminal laws of the United States, the service of all civil process in cases in which the United States is a party, and the execution of the revenue laws, the neutrality laws, and many other laws of large importance depend on the maintenance of the marshals and their deputies. They are in effect the only police of the United States Government. Officers with corresponding powers and duties are found in every State of the Union and in every country which has a jurisprudence which is worthy of the name. To deprive the National Government of these officers would be as disastrous to society as to abolish the sheriffs, constables, and police officers in the several States. It would be a denial to the United States of the right to execute its laws–a denial of all authority which requires the use of civil force. The law entitles these officers to be paid. The funds needed for the purpose have been collected from the people and are now in the Treasury. No objection is, therefore, made to that part of the bill before me which appropriates money for the support of the marshals and deputy marshals of the United States.

The bill contains, however, other provisions which are identical in tenor and effect with the second section of the bill entitled “An act making appropriations for certain judicial expenses,” which on the 23d of the present month was returned to the House of Representatives with my objections to its approval. The provisions referred to are as follows:

SEC. 2. That the sums appropriated in this act for the persons and public service embraced in its provisions are in full for such persons and public service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880; and no Department or officer of the Government shall during said fiscal year make any contract or incur any liability for the future payment of money under any of the provisions of title 26 mentioned in section 1 of this act until an appropriation sufficient to meet such contract or pay such liability shall have first been made by law.

Upon a reconsideration in the House of Representatives of the bill which contained these provisions it lacked a constitutional majority, and therefore failed to become a law. In order to secure its enactment, the same measure is again presented for my approval, coupled in the bill before me with appropriations for the support of marshals and their deputies during the next fiscal year. The object, manifestly, is to place before the Executive this alternative: Either to allow necessary functions of the public service to be crippled or suspended for want of the appropriations required to keep them in operation, or to approve legislation which in official communications to Congress he has declared would be a violation of his constitutional duty. Thus in this bill the principle is clearly embodied that by virtue of the provision of the Constitution which requires that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” a bare majority of the House of Representatives has the right to withhold appropriations for the support of the Government unless the Executive consents to approve any legislation which may be attached to appropriation bills. I respectfully refer to the communications on this subject which I have sent to Congress during its present session for a statement of the grounds of my conclusions, and desire here merely to repeat that in my judgment to establish the principle of this bill is to make a radical, dangerous, and unconstitutional change in the character of our institutions.





Whereas it has become known to me that certain evil-disposed persons have within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States begun and set on foot preparations for an organized and forcible possession of and settlement upon the lands of what is known as the Indian Territory, west of the State of Arkansas, which Territory is designated, recognized, and described by the treaties and laws of the United States and by the executive authorities as Indian country, and as such is only subject to occupation by Indian tribes, officers of the Indian Department, military posts, and such persons as may be privileged to reside and trade therein under the intercourse laws of the United States; and

Whereas those laws provide for the removal of all persons residing and trading therein without express permission of the Indian Department and agents, and also of all persons whom such agents may deem to be improper persons to reside in the Indian country:

Now, therefore, for the purpose of properly protecting the interests of the Indian nations and tribes, as well as of the United States, in said Indian Territory, and of duly enforcing the laws governing the same, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, do admonish and warn all such persons so intending or preparing to remove upon said lands or into said Territory without permission of the proper agent of the Indian Department against any attempt to so remove or settle upon any of the lands of said Territory; and I do further warn and notify any and all such persons who may so offend that they will be speedily and immediately removed therefrom by the agent, according to the laws made and provided; and if necessary the aid and assistance of the military forces of the United States will be invoked to carry into proper execution the laws of the United States herein referred to.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, this 26th day of April, A.D. 1879, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and third.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



At no recurrence of the season which the devout habit of a religious people has made the occasion for giving thanks to Almighty God and humbly invoking His continued favor has the material prosperity enjoyed by our whole country been more conspicuous, more manifold, or more universal.

During the past year, also, unbroken peace with all foreign nations, the general prevalence of domestic tranquillity, the supremacy and security of the great institutions of civil and religious freedom, have gladdened the hearts of our people and confirmed their attachment to their Government, which the wisdom and courage of our ancestors so fitly framed and the wisdom and courage of their descendants have so firmly maintained to be the habitation of liberty and justice to successive generations.

Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, do appoint Thursday, the 27th day of November instant, as a day of national thanksgiving and prayer; and I earnestly recommend that, withdrawing themselves from secular cares and labors, the people of the United States do meet together on that day in their respective places of worship, there to give thanks and praise to Almighty God for His mercies and to devoutly beseech their continuance.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of November, A.D. 1879, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and fourth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


[From the New-York Tribune, February 14, 1879.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 4, 1879._

General E.A. MERRITT.

MY DEAR GENERAL: I congratulate you on your confirmation. It is a great gratification to me, very honorable to you, and will prove, I believe, of signal service to the country. My desire is that the office be conducted on strictly business principles, and according to the rules for the civil service which were recommended by the Civil Service Commission in the Administration of General Grant. I want you to be perfectly independent of mere influence from any quarter. Neither my recommendation, nor that of Secretary Sherman, nor of any member of Congress or other influential person must be specially regarded. Let appointments and removals be made on business principles and according to rules. There must be, I assume, a few places filled by those you personally know to be trustworthy, but restrict the area of patronage to the narrowest limits. Let no man be put out merely because he is a friend to Mr. Arthur, and no man put in merely because he is our friend. The good of the service should be the sole end in view. The best means yet presented, it seems to me, are the rules recommended by the Civil Service Commission. I shall issue no new order on the subject at present. I am glad you approve of the message, and I wish you to see that all that is expressed or implied in it is faithfully carried out.

Again congratulating you, and assuring you of my entire confidence, I remain, sincerely,


Regulations to Prevent the Introduction of the “Plague” into the United States.


_Washington, D.C., March 3, 1879._

_To Officers of the Customs Revenue, Medical Officers of the Marine-Hospital Service, and others whom it may concern_:

The act approved April 29, 1878, entitled “An act to prevent the introduction of contagious or infectious diseases into the United States,” provides that no vessel coming from any foreign port or country where any contagious or infectious disease exists, nor any vessel conveying infected merchandise, shall enter any port of the United States or pass the boundary line between the United States and any foreign country except in such manner as may be prescribed under said act.

Attention has been called to the prevalence of a dangerous epidemic disease in southern Russia known as the “plague,” and its extremely virulent and contagious character, as manifested in the late outbreak, leaves no doubt that it is similar to, if not identical with, the “plague” which devastated the Old World in past centuries. Because, therefore, of the danger which attaches to rags, furs, etc., as carriers of infection, the following regulations are framed, under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and subject to the approval of the President, for the protection of the health of the people of the United States against the danger referred to:

Until further orders no vessel from any port of the Black Sea or the Sea of Azof, conveying any rags, furs, skins, hair, feathers, boxed or baled clothing or bedding, or any similar articles liable to convey infection, nor any vessel from any port of the Mediterranean or Red seas having on board such articles coming from southern Russia, shall enter any port of the United States until such articles shall have been removed from the vessel to open lighters or to some isolated locality and the vessel disinfected and thoroughly ventilated; and the suspected articles shall be disinfected, either by chemical agents and exposure to free currents of air or by burning, as shall be determined in each case by the Surgeon-General of the Marine-Hospital Service.

The certificate of the State or municipal quarantine officer of health may be accepted as satisfactory evidence of compliance with these regulations on the part of the vessel.

_Surgeon-General United States Marine-Hospital Service._



_Collector’s Office, February 26, 1879._

_Secretary of the Treasury._

SIR: The President, by letter of 4th instant, having requested that appointments and promotions in this office should be made in accordance with the civil-service rules of 1872, and having also made a similar request of the naval officer, it has been deemed best to make, if practicable, the same rules applicable to all the offices in this city included in the order of the Treasury Department dated August 7, 1872.

With that view, and after several conferences, it has been agreed by the assistant treasurer, naval officer, appraiser, surveyor, and myself to submit the inclosed modifications of the rules of 1872, and should they meet approval to put in operation forthwith the rules so modified.

I am, very respectfully,

E.A. MERRITT, _Collector._

[The modifications submitted with the above letter are omitted, and instead are inserted the following regulations, based upon said modifications, approved by the President March 6, 1879, and amended with his approval in January, 1880.]

Regulations Governing Appointments and Promotions in the Customs Service and Subtreasury in the City of New York.

I. Every application for appointment to a vacancy in the lowest grade of any group in the offices of the collector and the surveyor of customs, the naval officer, the appraiser, and the assistant treasurer of the United States in the city of New York must be made in the handwriting of the applicant to the head of the office in which employment is desired. It must state: (1) The position to which the applicant desires to be appointed;[29] (2) place and date of birth; (3) legal residence, and how long it has been such; (4) education; (5) occupation, past and present; (6) whether ever employed in the civil service, and, if so, when, how long, in what branch and capacity, and reasons for leaving the service; (7) whether ever in the Regular or Volunteer Army or Navy, and, if so, when and in what organization and capacity; (8) applicant’s name in full.

II. The applicant must certify to having composed and written the application without assistance; to the truth of the statements which it contains; to being a citizen of the United States, and faithful to the Union and the Constitution; and, if ever in the Regular or Volunteer Army or Navy, to having been honorably discharged.

III. Every application must be accompanied by a certificate, signed by two trustworthy and responsible persons, well known in the community in which they reside, that the applicant is personally well known to them to be of good moral character and of temperate and industrious habits, and to be faithful to the Union and the Constitution of the United States.

IV. Every application must also be accompanied by the certificate of a practicing physician as to the applicant’s general health and physical capacity to perform the duties of the position to which he desires to be appointed: _Provided, however_, That no appointment will be made to any position in active outdoor service unless a surgeon of the United States Marine-Hospital Service shall certify that he has made a physical examination of the applicant and found him fit for such position. Such surgeon’s examination may be postponed until required by the nominating officer.

V. Applications filed previously to the adoption of these regulations must be renewed or perfected in accordance therewith to entitle them to consideration. No applications for appointment as day or night inspectors in the custom-house from persons under 21 years of age, or for other positions under these regulations from persons under 18 years of age, will be considered. In compliance with section 1031 of the Treasury Regulations now in force, persons over 45 years of age are not eligible to any group the lowest grade of which is confined to persons receiving an annual salary of less than $1,800. This prohibition, however, shall not be applied to those who have been honorably discharged from the service and are otherwise qualified.

VI. All applications upon their receipt will be carefully examined by the board of examiners, and those which do not conform in every particular to the foregoing requirements, and such as show that the applicants are manifestly not qualified for the duties of the position desired, will be rejected and the applicants so notified. All other applicants will be designated as eligible for examination, and will be so notified. Inasmuch as applications are to be made in writing and each case is to be decided upon its merits, personal importunity will have no weight.

VII. Not less than five days prior to each examination a notification to appear at a time and place to be stated will be mailed to the eligible candidates, unless it shall be found impracticable to examine all of them, in which case a practicable number will be selected under the second regulation[30] for the civil service promulgated April 16, 1872, and notified to appear for examination. Those not selected for examination will remain on the eligible list. If any person notified to appear shall be unable to do so on account of sickness or other causes, he must promptly advise the board of examiners, in person or by mail, of his inability to attend, and his name will remain upon the eligible list; but any person attending an examination will not be allowed to subsequently plead sickness or other disabling causes as an excuse for defects in examination.

VIII. All candidates for appointment to positions the annual salary of which is $1,200 or more, who shall appear in accordance with such notification, will be subjected to a competitive written examination upon the following subjects:

(1) Copying from dictation; (2) arithmetic–fundamental rules, fractions, proportion, percentage and interest, reduction; (3) elements of accounts and bookkeeping; (4) geography, history, and government–general questions, principally such as relate to the United States; (5) elements of English grammar, chiefly orthography and syntax; (6) writing and briefing letters; and (7) penmanship.

Candidates for appointment to positions the salary of which is less than $1,200 will be examined in like manner upon the following subjects: (1) Penmanship, (2) copying; (3) elements of English grammar, chiefly orthography and syntax; and (4) fundamental rules of arithmetic.

Proficiency in penmanship, orthography, and punctuation will be determined principally by a review of the examination papers, and as far as possible the examination in all the branches will be confined to practical exercises.

In examinations for appointments to positions requiring special or technical knowledge such additions may be made by the board of examiners to the list of subjects as the nature of the case may require.

For temporary employment to meet casual exigencies in the public business, or for special services as experts, appointments may be made without examination; but no such appointment shall be made for a term exceeding three months, which may be specially extended for a similar term only; and no such appointment shall be made to any regular or permanent position.

IX. The various subjects of the examination may be subdivided, if thought desirable, into classes, and to each subject or class a relative weight, according to its importance in the examination, will be assigned by each board of examiners. The mode of ascertaining the result of the examination will be as follows: The degree of accuracy with which each question shall be answered will first be marked by the board on a scale of 100. The average of the marks given to the answers to the questions in each subject or class will next be ascertained. Each average will then be multiplied by the number indicating the relative weight of the subject or class, and the sum of the products will be divided by the sum of the relative weights. The quotient will determine the candidate’s standing in the examination. Relative weight will be assigned not merely to the special qualifications of the candidates, but to their general aptitude, as shown in the course of examination. Candidates will be examined during office hours, and in no case will their examination be continued more than one day.

X. The board of examiners will prepare a list of the persons examined in the order of their excellence, as proved by such examination, beginning with the highest, and will then certify to the head of the office the names standing at the head of such list, not exceeding three. When more than one appointment is to be made, the vacancies will be numbered, and the first three names will be certified for the first vacancy, the remaining two and the fourth for the second vacancy, the remaining two and the fifth for the third vacancy, and so on for the whole number of vacancies; but if, after selecting one of any three certified for appointment, the head of the office shall object to another presentation of either of the remaining names, it shall not be again certified.

XI. The examination papers of any candidate who shall have passed a minimum standard of 75 per cent, but who shall fail to be appointed, will, if requested by the candidate, be brought into competition with those candidates who shall compete for vacancies of the same class and nature occurring within one year: _Provided, however_, That the candidate shall not have been specially objected to by the head of the office under the last preceding regulation. No candidate who upon examination has been marked below the minimum will be allowed to again compete within one year from the date of such examination, unless for admission to a lower group.

XII. All examination papers will be filed, and will at all times be open to the inspection of those interested, under such restrictions as may be imposed by the head of the office.

XIII. There shall be one examining board for all appointments and promotions under these rules in the offices of the collector, surveyor, and naval officer, which shall consist of the surveyor and one representative to be nominated each by the collector and the naval officer, and three alternates, to be nominated one each by the collector, the naval officer, and the surveyor: _Provided, however_, That in examinations for positions in the surveyor’s office the surveyor’s alternate shall act on such board. The examining boards in the offices of the assistant treasurer and the appraiser shall consist of three persons, with three alternates, to be nominated by the assistant treasurer and the appraiser, respectively. All nominations as members and alternates on the examining boards shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury for his approval. The heads of the several offices shall constitute a board of revision and appeal, which, upon appeal from any person examined or from any member of an examining board, shall revise the decision of said board.

XIV. Whenever the head of an office shall notify the board of examiners for such office that a vacancy which he desires to fill exists in any grade above the lowest not excepted from the rules and regulations for the civil service, the board will fix a time for holding an examination for the purpose, and at least five days before the same is to take place will cause a notice to be posted in a conspicuous place in the office, stating the grade and group of the vacancy, the date of the examination, and that the vacancy is to be filled by a competitive examination of applicants from the next lower grade, unless none in such lower grade be found qualified, when those in the next lower grade may compete, or, if there be none in any of the lower grades qualified, competition will be open to applicants. In any examination for promotion, if the competitors from the next lower grade shall not exceed three in number, the board may, at its discretion, open the competition to the next lower grade or below, as they may deem best; and furthermore, if such promotion would probably occasion vacancies requiring other promotions, the board may combine in one the necessary examinations for such promotions. No person who has been examined in any grade for promotion and failed to receive such promotion shall again be admitted to examination within six months, but in the meantime his general average, as ascertained by such examination, may be brought into competition, as provided in Regulation XI.

XV. The examination will be held upon the general subjects fixed for examinations for admission to the lowest grade of the group and upon such other subjects as the general nature of the business of the office and the special nature of the position to be filled may seem to the board of examiners to require. Due weight will be given to the efficiency with which the several candidates shall have previously performed their duties in the office; but no one who shall fail to pass a minimum standard of 75 per cent in the written examination will be certified for appointment.

XVI. If no applicants from within the group shall be found competent, an examination will be held of all who shall make application in accordance with the regulations governing applications for admission to the office, after due public notice by the head of the office. The examination will be conducted in accordance with the provisions for admission to the office, as required by the fourth rule[31] for the civil service promulgated December 19, 1871, but the nature of the examination will be the same as in any previous examination for the same vacancy.

XVII. The list of names from which the appointment is to be made will be prepared and certified in the manner provided for admission to the lowest grade.

XVIII. Persons employed in any of the offices to which these rules are applicable may be transferred without examination from one office to a grade no higher in another office, with, the consent of the heads of the respective offices and the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury.

XIX. Under the provisions of rule 2[32] of August 5, 1873, and the operation of these regulations, the power of suspension and of recommendation for discharge from the service shall remain with the nominating officer unrestricted. If, however, in his judgment it be deemed advisable, he may direct any person in his department to be cited before the regular examining board, and such board shall examine into and report upon the qualifications, efficiency, and general fitness for the position held, or for any position in the same or a lower grade, of the person so cited to appear; and furthermore, any person in the service engaged in active outdoor duties may be cited to appear before a surgeon of the United States Marine-Hospital Service and be examined by such surgeon as to the physical abilities of such person to perform the duties of the position occupied or of a position of less exposure, if otherwise qualified.

XX. The sessions of the examining boards shall not be open to the public, but the board of revision and appeal may select such number of prominent citizens as may be deemed advisable, who shall have free access to the examining rooms, and who shall take no part in the conduct of the examination, but may, by inspection and inquiry, assure themselves regarding its thoroughness and impartiality, and may publicly certify the results of their inspection.

[Seventh rule for the civil service under the Executive order of April 16, 1872.[33]]

The appointment of all persons entering the civil service in accordance with these regulations, excepting persons appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, postmasters, and persons appointed to any position in a foreign country, shall be made for a probationary term of six months, during which the conduct and capacity of such persons shall be tested; and if at the end of said probationary term satisfactory proofs of their fitness shall have been furnished by the board of examiners to the head of the Department in which they shall have been employed during said term, they shall be reappointed.

[Fourth regulation for the civil service under the Executive order of April 16, 1872[34]]

The appointment of persons to be employed exclusively in the secret service of the Government, also of persons to be employed as translators, stenographers, or private secretaries, * * * may be excepted from the operation of the rules.

[Ninth rule for the civil service under the Executive order of April 16, 1872. [35]]

Any person who, after long and faithful service in a Department, shall be incapacitated by mental or bodily infirmity for the efficient discharge of the duties of his position may be appointed by the head of the Department, at his discretion, to a position of less responsibility in the same Department.

[Seventh rule for the civil service under the Executive order of August 5, 1873.[36]]

Applicants for appointment as cashiers of collectors of customs, cashiers of assistant treasurers, cashiers of postmasters, superintendents of money-order divisions in post-offices, and other custodians of large sums of public money for whose fidelity another officer has given official bonds maybe appointed at discretion; but this rule shall not apply to any appointment to a position grouped below the grade of assistant teller.

The amendments of the New York custom-house rules seem proper.


[Footnote 29: The positions for which applications may be made in the several offices are: Collector’s and surveyor’s office: (1) Inspector, at salary of $4 per day; (2) clerk, at annual salary of $1,200; (3) weigher’s clerk, at annual salary of $1,200; (4) ganger’s clerk, at annual salary of $1,200; (5) night inspector, at a salary of $2.50 per day, and clerk, at an annual salary of less than $1,200.

Naval office: (1) Clerk, at an annual salary of $1,200; (2) clerk, at an annual salary of less than $1,200.

Assistant treasurer’s office: (1) Clerk, at an annual salary of $2,000; (2) clerk, at an annual salary of $1,200; (3) clerk, at an annual salary of less than $1,200.

Appraiser’s office: (1) Examiner, at an annual salary of $1,800; (2) clerk, verifier, or sampler, at an annual salary of $1,200; (3) clerk, verifier, or sampler, at an annual salary of less than $1,200; (4) openers and packers, at a salary of $3 per day.]

[Footnote 30: See p. 181.]

[Footnote 31: See p. 158.]

[Footnote 32: See p. 231.]

[Footnote 33: See rule 7, promulgated December 19, 1871, p.158.]

[Footnote 34: See p. 181.]

[Footnote 35: See rule 9, promulgated December 19, 1871, p. 158.]

[Footnote 36: See p. 232.]

MARCH 6, 1879.

General E.A. MERRITT,
_Collector of Customs, New York_

SIR: Your letter of the 26th ultimo, inclosing a draft of modification of the civil-service rules, was duly received, and the rules have been considered and approved by the President. You may therefore act upon them.

Very respectfully,



For the purpose of making it more certain that only persons of good character and adequate capacity shall be selected from among applicants too numerous for the postmaster to become informed of their individual merits by personal investigation, the following rules are established:

1. Hereafter all applications for clerical appointment at this post-office must be made in accordance with a prescribed form, a copy of which will be furnished to each applicant.

2. All appointments to clerical positions will be made to the lowest grade, and no applications from persons under 16 or over 25 years of age will be entertained.

3. On receipt of an application for appointment, and before further action is taken in regard to it, the applicant will be referred to the medical officer for examination as to his physical condition, as being adequate for the service; and if the report is unfavorable the application will be rejected. Should the report be favorable, the application will be filed and registered in its regular order.

4. Every application must be accompanied by a certificate, signed by not less than three nor more than five reputable citizens, stating the time for which each has been acquainted with the applicant, and testifying to his good character and reputation for integrity, sobriety, and industry, and to the willingness of the signers to furnish personally any further information they may possess concerning the applicant, if so requested by the postmaster or the board of examiners.

5. Applications not properly filled out as herein required, or which are found to contain false statements, or which in any other manner show the unfitness of the applicant for employment in the post-office, will be rejected and the applicant notified of such rejection.

6. All examination papers, with the markings showing the relative proficiency of the candidates, will be carefully preserved and filed.

7. The names of candidates which have been on the register for one year without being reached for examination will be regarded as removed, and will not be selected for examination unless again placed on the register by a new application, after which they will be selected when reached in order.

8. All applications duly received and filed shall, when reached in order, be referred to a board of examiners, which is hereby appointed, and which shall consist of the assistant postmaster, auditor, the general superintendents of the fourth, fifth, and sixth divisions, and the assistant general superintendent of the third division. The postmaster’s private secretary shall also act as secretary of said board.

9. When vacancies occur in the lowest grade, the board of examiners shall notify such number of applicants, not less than twenty, of those first on the register of applicants to appear for a competitive examination.

10. The questions to be asked and answered at such examinations shall be such as will show the relative proficiency of the candidates, first, in penmanship; second, in arithmetic; third, in geography; fourth, in English grammar; fifth, in the history of the United States and in matters of a public nature, to the extent that may be required adequately to test general capacity or special fitness for the postal service.

11. The board shall present to the postmaster a list of the names of the successful candidates in the order of their excellence, as shown by the examination, beginning with the highest; and the appointments will be made from the three highest names on the list.

12. All further details in methods of examination will be left to the discretion of the board, but subject to the instructions of the postmaster, in conformity herewith.

13. All vacancies that may occur in the higher grades of any department shall be filled by promotion from the lower grades by means of competitive examinations, to which shall be admitted as competitors such persons only as are already employed in the division in which the vacancy exists or in divisions having analogous duties. The questions in these examinations shall be restricted mainly to matters pertaining to the ordinary business of that department. The examinations shall be conducted by the general superintendent of the division to which the department is attached, assisted by such one or more other officers of the same as the postmaster may select; and they shall report the result to the postmaster in the manner provided in rule 11, and the vacancy will be filled by the promotion of some one of the three standing highest in the competition. But whenever the vacancy to be filled by promotion is that of a position requiring the exercise of administrative authority the board may add such questions as will test the degree to which the candidates possess special qualifications for such position.

14. For positions as porters the examination will be confined to questions intended to test the physical ability of the candidates and their proficiency in reading, penmanship, and elementary arithmetic only.

15. The postmaster reserves from the operation of the above rules for original Appointment and promotion positions of especial pecuniary trust, as well as those involving confidential relations, as private secretary, etc.

THOMAS L. JAMES, _Postmaster_.

Approved. Let these rules go into effect May 1, 1879.

D.M. KEY, _Postmaster-General._

APRIL 3, 1879.

The foregoing rules are approved.


[From the Evening Star, Washington, D.C., May 28, 1879.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 28, 1879_.

SIR:[37] I am directed by the President to say that the several Departments of the Government will be closed on Friday, the 30th instant, in remembrance of those who fell in defense of the nation, and to enable the employees to participate in the commemorative ceremonies of the day.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W.K. ROGERS, _Private Secretary_.

[Footnote 37: Addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, etc.]


_Washington, D.C., May 31, 1879_.

_To Medical Officers of the Marine-Hospital Service and others whom it may concern:_

Official information having been received to the effect that the “plague” which existed in southern Russia is now almost extinct, the regulations issued March 3, 1879,[38] imposing certain restrictions upon the importation of rags, etc., into the United States, are hereby revoked.

By order of the Secretary of the Treasury:

_Surgeon-General United States Marine-Hospital Service_.

Approved: R.B. HAYES.

[Footnote 38: See pp. 549-550.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, November 1, 1879_.

The sad intelligence of the death of Zachariah Chandler, late Secretary of the Interior, and during so many years a Senator from the State of Michigan, has been communicated to the Government and to the country, and in proper respect to his memory I hereby order that the several Executive Departments be closed to public business and their flags and those of their dependencies throughout the country be displayed at half-mast on the day of his funeral.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, November 17, 1879_.

DEAR SIR:[39] I am directed by the President to say that the several Departments of the Government will be closed on Wednesday, the 19th instant, to enable the employees to participate in the ceremonies attending the unveiling of the statue of the late General George H. Thomas.

Very truly, yours,

W.K. ROGERS, _Private Secretary_.

[Footnote 39: Addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, etc.]


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 1, 1879_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:_

The members of the Forty-sixth Congress have assembled in their first regular session under circumstances calling for mutual congratulation and grateful acknowledgment to the Giver of All Good for the large and unusual measure of national prosperity which we now enjoy.

The most interesting events which have occurred in our public affairs since my last annual message to Congress are connected with the financial operations of the Government, directly affecting the business interests of the country. I congratulate Congress on the successful execution of the resumption act. At the time fixed, and in the manner contemplated by law, United States notes began to be redeemed in coin. Since the 1st of January last they have been promptly redeemed on presentation, and in all business transactions, public and private, in all parts of the country, they are received and paid out as the equivalent of coin. The demand upon the Treasury for gold and silver in exchange for United States notes has been comparatively small, and the voluntary deposit of coin and bullion in exchange for notes has been very large. The excess of the precious metals deposited or exchanged for United States notes over the amount of United States notes redeemed is about $40,000,000.

The resumption of specie payments has been followed by a very great revival of business. With a currency equivalent in value to the money of the commercial world, we are enabled to enter upon an equal competition with other nations in trade and production. The increasing foreign demand for our manufactures and agricultural products has caused a large balance of trade in our favor, which has been paid in gold, from the 1st of July last to November 15, to the amount of about $59,000,000. Since the resumption of specie payments there has also been a marked and gratifying improvement of the public credit. The bonds of the Government bearing only 4 per cent interest have been sold at or above par, sufficient in amount to pay off all of the national debt which was redeemable under present laws. The amount of interest saved annually by the process of refunding the debt since March 1, 1877, is $14,297,177. The bonds sold were largely in small sums, and the number of our citizens now holding the public securities is much greater than ever before. The amount of the national debt which matures within less than two years is $792,121,700, of which $500,000,000 bear interest at the rate of 5 per cent, and the balance is in bonds bearing 6 per cent interest. It is believed that this part of the public debt can be refunded by the issue of 4 per cent bonds, and, by the reduction of interest which will thus be effected, about $11,000,000 can be annually saved to the Treasury. To secure this important reduction of interest to be paid by the United States further legislation is required, which it is hoped will be provided by Congress during its present session.

The coinage of gold by the mints of the United States during the last fiscal year was $40,986,912. The coinage of silver dollars since the passage of the act for that purpose up to November 1, 1879, was $45,000,850, of which $12,700,344 have been issued from the Treasury and are now in circulation, and $32,300,506 are still in the possession of the Government.

The pendency of the proposition for unity of action between the United States and the principal commercial nations of Europe to effect a permanent system for the equality of gold and silver in the recognized money of the world leads me to recommend that Congress refrain from new legislation on the general subject. The great revival of trade, internal and foreign, will supply during the coming year its own instructions, which may well be awaited before attempting further experimental measures with the coinage. I would, however, strongly urge upon Congress the importance of authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend the coinage of silver dollars upon the present legal ratio. The market value of the silver dollar being uniformly and largely less than the market value of the gold dollar, it is obviously impracticable to maintain them at par with each other if both are coined without limit. If the cheaper coin is forced into circulation, it will, if coined without limit, soon become the sole standard of value, and thus defeat the desired object, which is a currency of both gold and silver which shall be of equivalent value, dollar for dollar, with the universally recognized money of the world.

The retirement from circulation of United States notes with the capacity of legal tender in private contracts is a step to be taken in our progress toward a safe and stable currency which should be accepted as the policy and duty of the Government and the interest and security of the people. It is my firm conviction that the issue of legal-tender paper money based wholly upon the authority and credit of the Government, except in extreme emergency, is without warrant in the Constitution and a violation of sound financial principles. The issue of United States notes during the late civil war with the capacity of legal tender between private individuals was not authorized except as a means of rescuing the country from imminent peril. The circulation of these notes as paper money for any protracted period of time after the accomplishment of this purpose was not contemplated by the framers of the law under which they were issued. They anticipated the redemption and withdrawal of these notes at the earliest practicable period consistent with the attainment of the object for which they were provided.

The policy of the United States, steadily adhered to from the adoption of the Constitution, has been to avoid the creation of a national debt; and when, from necessity in time of war, debts have been created, they have been paid off, on the return of peace, as rapidly as possible. With this view, and for this purpose, it is recommended that the existing laws for the accumulation of a sinking fund sufficient to extinguish the public debt within a limited period be maintained. If any change of the objects or rates of taxation is deemed necessary by Congress, it is suggested that experience has shown that a duty can be placed on tea and coffee which will not enhance the price of those articles to the consumer, and which will add several millions of dollars annually to the Treasury.

The continued deliberate violation by a large number of the prominent and influential citizens of the Territory of Utah of the laws of the United States for the prosecution and punishment of polygamy demands the attention of every department of the Government. This Territory has a population sufficient to entitle it to admission as a State, and the general interests of the nation, as well as the welfare of the citizens of the Territory, require its advance from the Territorial form of government to the responsibilities and privileges of a State. This important change will not, however, be approved by the country while the citizens of Utah in very considerable number uphold a practice which is condemned as a crime by the laws of all civilized communities throughout the world.

The law for the suppression of this offense was enacted with great unanimity by Congress more than seventeen years ago, but has remained until recently a dead letter in the Territory of Utah, because of the peculiar difficulties attending its enforcement. The opinion widely prevailed among the citizens of Utah that the law was in contravention of the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom. This objection is now removed. The Supreme Court of the United States has decided the law to be within the legislative power of Congress and binding as a rule of action for all who reside within the Territories. There is no longer any reason for delay or hesitation in its enforcement. It should be firmly and effectively executed. If not sufficiently stringent in its provisions, it should be amended; and in aid of the purpose in view I recommend that more comprehensive and more searching methods for preventing as well as punishing this crime be provided. If necessary to secure obedience to the law, the enjoyment and exercise of the rights and privileges of citizenship in the Territories of the United States may be withheld or withdrawn from those who violate or oppose the enforcement of the law on this subject.

The elections of the past year, though occupied only with State officers, have not failed to elicit in the political discussions which attended them all over the country new and decisive evidence of the deep interest which the great body of citizens take in the progress of the country toward a more general and complete establishment, at whatever cost, of universal security and freedom in the exercise of the elective franchise. While many topics of political concern demand great attention from our people, both in the sphere of national and State authority, I find no reason to qualify the opinion I expressed in my last annual message, that no temporary or administrative interests of government, however urgent or weighty, will ever displace the zeal of our people in defense of the primary rights of citizenship, and that the power of public opinion will override all political prejudices, and all sectional and State attachments in demanding that all over our wide territory the name and character of citizen of the United States shall mean one and the same thing and carry with them unchallenged security and respect. I earnestly appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of all good citizens of every part of the country, however much they may be divided in opinions on other political subjects, to unite in compelling obedience to existing laws aimed at the protection of the right of suffrage. I respectfully urge upon Congress to supply any defects in these laws which experience has shown and which it is within its power to remedy. I again invoke the cooperation of the executive and legislative authorities of the States in this great purpose. I am fully convinced that if the public mind can be set at rest on this paramount question of popular rights no serious obstacle will thwart or delay the complete pacification of the country or retard the general diffusion of prosperity.

In a former message I invited the attention of Congress to the subject of the reformation of the civil service of the Government, and expressed the intention of transmitting to Congress as early as practicable a report upon this subject by the chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

In view of the facts that during a considerable period the Government of Great Britain has been dealing with administrative problems and abuses in various particulars analogous to those presented in this country, and that in recent years the measures adopted were understood to have been effective and in every respect highly satisfactory, I thought it desirable to have fuller information upon the subject, and accordingly requested the chairman of the Civil Service Commission to make a thorough investigation for this purpose. The result has been an elaborate and comprehensive report.

The report sets forth the history of the partisan spoils system in Great Britain, and of the rise and fall of the parliamentary patronage, and of official interference with the freedom of elections. It shows that after long trials of various kinds of examinations those which are competitive and open on equal terms to all, and which are carried on under the superintendence of a single commission, have, with great advantage, been established as conditions of admission to almost every official place in the subordinate administration of that country and of British India. The completion of the report, owing to the extent of the labor involved in its preparation and the omission of Congress to make any provision either for the compensation or the expenses of the Commission, has been postponed until the present time. It is herewith transmitted to Congress.

While the reform measures of another government are of no authority for us, they are entitled to influence to the extent to which their intrinsic wisdom and their adaptation to our institutions and social life may commend them to our consideration. The views I have heretofore expressed concerning the defects and abuses in our civil administration remain unchanged, except in so far as an enlarged experience has deepened my sense of the duty both of officers and of the people themselves to cooperate for their removal. The grave evils and perils of a partisan spoils system of appointment to office and of office tenure are now generally recognized. In the resolutions of the great parties, in the reports of Departments, in the debates and proceedings of Congress, in the messages of Executives, the gravity of these evils has been pointed out and the need of their reform has been admitted.

To command the necessary support, every measure of reform must be based on common right and justice, and must be compatible with the healthy existence of great parties, which are inevitable and essential in a free state.

When the people have approved a policy at a national election, confidence on the part of the officers they have selected and of the advisers who, in accordance with our political institutions, should be consulted in the policy which it is their duty to carry into effect is indispensable. It is eminently proper that they should explain it before the people, as well as illustrate its spirit in the performance of their official duties.

Very different considerations apply to the greater number of those who fill the subordinate places in the civil service. Their responsibility is to their superiors in official position. It is their duty to obey the legal instructions of those upon whom that authority is devolved, and their best public service consists in the discharge of their functions irrespective of partisan politics. Their duties are the same whatever party is in power and whatever policy prevails. As a consequence it follows that their tenure of office should not depend on the prevalence of any policy or the supremacy of any party, but should be determined by their capacity to serve the people most usefully quite irrespective of partisan interests. The same considerations that should govern the tenure should also prevail in the appointment, discipline, and removal of these subordinates. The authority of appointment and removal is not a perquisite, which may be used to aid a friend or reward a partisan, but is a trust, to be exercised in the public interest under all the sanctions which attend the obligation to apply the public funds only for public purposes.

Every citizen has an equal right to the honor and profit of entering the public service of his country. The only just ground of discrimination is the measure of character and capacity he has to make that service most useful to the people. Except in cases where, upon just and recognized principles–as upon the theory of pensions–offices and promotions are bestowed as rewards for past services, their bestowal upon any theory which disregards personal merit is an act of injustice to the citizen, as well as a breach of that trust subject to which the appointing power is held.

In the light of these principles it becomes of great importance to provide just and adequate means, especially for every Department and large administrative office, where personal discrimination on the part of its head is not practicable, for ascertaining those qualifications to which appointments and removals should have reference. To fail to provide such means is not only to deny the opportunity of ascertaining the facts upon which the most righteous claim to office depends, but of necessity to discourage all worthy aspirants by handing over appointments and removals to mere influence and favoritism. If it is the right of the worthiest claimant to gain the appointment and the interest of the people to bestow it upon him, it would seem clear that a wise and just method of ascertaining personal fitness for office must be an important and permanent function of every just and wise government. It has long since become impossible in the great offices for those having the duty of nomination and appointment to personally examine into the individual qualifications of more than a small proportion of those seeking office, and with the enlargement of the civil service that proportion must continue to become less.

In the earlier years of the Government the subordinate offices were so few in number that it was quite easy for those making appointments and promotions to personally ascertain the merits of candidates. Party managers and methods had not then become powerful agencies of coercion, hostile to the free and just exercise of the appointing power.

A large and responsible part of the duty of restoring the civil service to the desired purity and efficiency rests upon the President, and it is my purpose to do what is within my power to advance such prudent and gradual measures of reform as will most surely and rapidly bring about that radical change of system essential to make our administrative methods satisfactory to a free and intelligent people. By a proper exercise of authority it is in the power of the Executive to do much to promote such a reform. But it can not be too clearly understood that nothing adequate can be accomplished without cooperation on the part of Congress and considerate and intelligent support among the people. Reforms which challenge the generally accepted theories of parties and demand changes in the methods of Departments are not the work of a day. Their permanent foundations must be laid in sound principles and in an experience which demonstrates their wisdom and exposes the errors of their adversaries. Every worthy officer desires to make his official action a gain and an honor to his country; but the people themselves, far more than their officers in public station, are interested in a pure, economical, and vigorous administration.

By laws enacted in 1853 and 1855, and now in substance incorporated in the Revised Statutes, the practice of arbitrary appointments to the several subordinate grades in the great Departments was condemned, and examinations as to capacity, to be conducted by departmental boards of examiners, were provided for and made conditions of admission to the public service. These statutes are a decision by Congress that examinations of some sort as to attainments and capacity are essential to the well-being of the public service. The important questions since the enactment of these laws have been as to the character of these examinations, and whether official favor and partisan influence or common right and merit were to control the access to the examinations. In practice these examinations have not always been open to worthy persons generally who might wish to be examined. Official favoritism and partisan influence, as a rule, appear to have designated those who alone were permitted to go before the examining boards, subjecting even the examiners to a pressure from the friends of the candidates very difficult to resist. As a consequence the standard of admission fell below that which the public interest demanded. It was also almost inevitable that a system which provided for various separate boards of examiners, with no common supervision or uniform method of procedure, should result in confusion, inconsistency, and inadequate tests of capacity, highly detrimental to the public interest. A further and more radical change was obviously required.

In the annual message of December, 1870, my predecessor declared that–

There is no duty which so much embarrasses the Executive and heads of Departments as that of appointments, nor is there any such arduous and thankless labor imposed on Senators and Representatives as that of finding places for constituents. The present system does not secure the best men, and often not even fit men, for public place. The elevation and purification of the civil service of the Government will be hailed with approval by the whole people of the United States.

Congress accordingly passed the act approved March 3, 1871, “to regulate the civil service of the United States and promote the efficiency thereof,” giving the necessary authority to the Executive to inaugurate a civil-service reform.

Acting under this statute, which was interpreted as intended to secure a system of just and effectual examinations under uniform supervision, a number of eminently competent persons were selected for the purpose, who entered with zeal upon the discharge of their duties, prepared with an intelligent appreciation of the requirements of the service the regulations contemplated, and took charge of the examinations, and who in their capacity as a board have been known as the “Civil Service Commission.” Congress for two years appropriated the money needed for the compensation and for the expense of carrying on the work of the Commission.

It appears from the report of the Commission submitted to the President in April, 1874, that examinations had been held in various sections of the country, and that an appropriation of about $25,000 would be required to meet the annual expenses, including salaries, involved in discharging the duties of the Commission. The report was transmitted to Congress by special message of April 18, 1874, with the following favorable comment upon the labors of the Commission:

If sustained by Congress, I have no doubt the rules can, after the experience gained, be so improved and enforced as to still more materially benefit the public service and relieve the Executive, members of Congress, and the heads of Departments from influences prejudicial to good administration. The rules, as they have hitherto been enforced, have resulted beneficially, as is shown by the opinions of the members of the Cabinet and their subordinates in the Departments, and in that opinion I concur.

And in the annual message of December of the same year similar views are expressed and an appropriation for continuing the work of the Commission again advised.

The appropriation was not made, and as a consequence the active work of the Commission was suspended, leaving the Commission itself still in existence. Without the means, therefore, of causing qualifications to be tested in any systematic manner or of securing for the public service the advantages of competition upon any extensive plan, I recommended in my annual message of December, 1877, the making of an appropriation for the resumption of the work of the Commission.

In the meantime, however, competitive examinations, under many embarrassments, have been conducted within limited spheres in the Executive Departments in Washington and in a number of the custom-houses and post-offices of the principal cities of the country, with a view to further test their effects, and in every instance they have been found to be as salutary as they are stated to have been under the Administration of my predecessor. I think the economy, purity, and efficiency of the public service would be greatly promoted by their systematic introduction, wherever practicable, throughout the entire civil service of the Government, together with ample provision for their general supervision in order to secure consistency and uniform justice.

Reports from the Secretary of the Interior, from the Postmaster-General, from the postmaster in the city of New York, where such examinations have been some time on trial, and also from the collector of the port, the naval officer, and the surveyor in that city, and from the postmasters and collectors in several of the other large cities, show that the competitive system, where applied, has in various ways contributed to improve the public service.

The reports show that the results have been salutary in a marked degree, and that the general application of similar rules can not fail to be of decided benefit to the service.

The reports of the Government officers, in the city of New York especially, bear decided testimony to the utility of open competitive examinations in their respective offices, showing that–

These examinations and the excellent qualifications of those admitted to the service through them have had a marked incidental effect upon the persons previously in the service, and particularly upon those aspiring to promotion. There has been on the part of these latter an increased interest in the work and a desire to extend acquaintance with it beyond the particular desk occupied, and thus the morale of the entire force has been raised. * * * The examinations have been attended by many citizens, who have had an opportunity to thoroughly investigate the scope and character of the tests and the method of determining the results, and those visitors have without exception approved the methods employed, and several of them have publicly attested their favorable opinion.

Upon such considerations I deem it my duty to renew the recommendation contained in my annual message of December, 1877, requesting Congress to make the necessary appropriation for the resumption of the work of the Civil Service Commission. Economy will be promoted by authorizing a moderate compensation to persons in the public service who may perform extra labor upon or under the Commission, as the Executive may direct.

I am convinced that if a just and adequate test of merit is enforced for admission to the public service and in making promotions such abuses as removals without good cause and partisan and official interference with the proper exercise of the appointing power will in large measure disappear.

There are other administrative abuses to which the attention of Congress should be asked in this connection. Mere partisan appointments and the constant peril of removal without cause very naturally lead to an absorbing and mischievous political activity on the part of those thus appointed, which not only interferes with the due discharge of official duty, but is incompatible with the freedom of elections. Not without warrant in the views of several of my predecessors in the Presidential office, and directly within the law of 1871, already cited, I endeavored, by regulation made on the 22d day of June, 1877, to put some reasonable limits to such abuses. It may not be easy, and it may never perhaps be necessary, to define with precision the proper limit of political action on the part of Federal officers. But while their right to hold and freely express their opinions can not be questioned, it is very plain that they should neither be allowed to devote to other subjects the time needed for the proper discharge of their official duties nor to use the authority of their office to enforce their own opinions or to coerce the political action of those who hold different opinions.

Reasons of justice and public policy quite analogous to those which forbid the use of official power for the oppression of the private citizen impose upon the Government the duty of protecting its officers and agents from arbitrary exactions. In whatever aspect considered, the practice of making levies for party purposes upon the salaries of officers is highly demoralizing to the public service and discreditable to the country. Though an officer should be as free as any other citizen to give his own money in aid of his opinions or his party, he should also be as free as any other citizen to refuse to make such gifts. If salaries are but a fair compensation for the time and labor of the officer, it is gross injustice to levy a tax upon them. If they are made excessive in order that they may bear the tax, the excess is an indirect robbery of the public funds.

I recommend, therefore, such a revision and extension of present statutes as shall secure to those in every grade of official life or public employment the protection with which a great and enlightened nation should guard those who are faithful in its service.

Our relations with foreign countries have continued peaceful.

With Great Britain there are still unsettled questions, growing out of the local laws of the maritime provinces and the action of provincial authorities deemed to be in derogation of rights secured by treaty to American fishermen. The United States minister in London has been instructed to present a demand for $105,305.02 in view of the damages received by American citizens at Fortune Bay on the 6th day of January, 1878. The subject has been taken into consideration by the British Government, and an early reply is anticipated.

Upon the completion of the necessary preliminary examinations the subject of our participation in the provincial fisheries, as regulated by treaty, will at once be brought to the attention of the British Government, with a view to an early and permanent settlement of the whole question, which was only temporarily adjusted by the treaty of Washington.

Efforts have been made to obtain the removal of restrictions found injurious to the exportation of cattle to the United Kingdom.

Some correspondence has also occurred with regard to the rescue and saving of life and property upon the Lakes, which has resulted in important modifications of the previous regulations of the Dominion government on the subject in the interest of humanity and commerce.

In accordance with the joint resolution of the last session of Congress, commissioners were appointed to represent the United States at the two international exhibitions in Australia, one of which is now in progress at Sydney, and the other to be held next year at Melbourne. A desire has been expressed by our merchants and manufacturers interested in the important and growing trade with Australia that an increased provision should be made by Congress for the representation of our industries at the Melbourne exhibition of next year, and the subject is respectfully submitted to your favorable consideration.

The assent of the Government has been given to the landing on the coast of Massachusetts of a new and independent transatlantic cable between France, by way of the French island of St. Pierre, and this country, subject to any future legislation of Congress on the subject. The conditions imposed before allowing this connection with our shores to be established are such as to secure its competition with any existing or future lines of marine cable and preclude amalgamation therewith, to provide for entire equality of rights to our Government and people with those of France in the use of the cable, and prevent any exclusive possession of the privilege as accorded by France to the disadvantage of any future cable communication between France and the United States which may be projected and accomplished by our citizens. An important reduction of the present rates of cable communication with Europe, felt to be too burdensome to the interests of our commerce, must necessarily flow from the establishment of this competing line.

The attention of Congress was drawn to the propriety of some general regulation by Congress of the whole subject of transmarine cables by my predecessor in his message of December 7, 1875, and I respectfully submit to your consideration the importance of Congressional action in the matter.

The questions of grave importance with Spain growing out of the incidents of the Cuban insurrection have been for the most part happily and honorably settled. It may reasonably be anticipated that the commission now sitting in Washington for the decision of private cases in this connection will soon be able to bring its labors to a conclusion.

The long-standing question of East Florida claims has lately been renewed as a subject of correspondence, and may possibly require Congressional action for its final disposition.

A treaty with the Netherlands with respect to consular rights and privileges similar to those with other powers has been signed and ratified, and the ratifications were exchanged on the 31st of July last. Negotiations for extradition treaties with the Netherlands and with Denmark are now in progress.

Some questions with Switzerland in regard to pauper and convict emigrants have arisen, but it is not doubted that they will be arranged upon a just and satisfactory basis. A question has also occurred with respect to an asserted claim by Swiss municipal authorities to exercise tutelage over persons and property of Swiss citizens naturalized in this country. It is possible this may require adjustment by treaty.

With the German Empire frequent questions arise in connection with the subjects of naturalization and expatriation, but the Imperial Government has constantly manifested a desire to strictly maintain and comply with all treaty stipulations in regard to them.

In consequence of the omission of Congress to provide for a diplomatic representative at Athens, the legation to Greece has been withdrawn. There is now no channel of diplomatic communication between the two countries, and the expediency of providing for one in some form is submitted to Congress.

Relations with Austria, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Belgium continue amicable, and marked by no incident of especial importance.

A change of the personal head of the Government of Egypt has taken place. No change, however, has occurred in the relations between Egypt and the United States. The action of the Egyptian Government in presenting to the city of New York one of the ancient obelisks, which possess such historic interest, is highly appreciated as a generous mark of international regard. If prosperity should attend the enterprise of its transportation across the Atlantic, its erection in a conspicuous position in the chief commercial city of the nation will soon be accomplished.

The treaty recently made between Japan and the United States in regard to the revision of former commercial treaties it is now believed will be followed by similar action on the part of other treaty powers. The attention of Congress is again invited to the subject of the indemnity funds received some years since from Japan and China, which, with their accumulated interest, now amount to considerable sums. If any part of these funds is justly due to American citizens, they should receive it promptly; and whatever may have been received by this Government in excess of strictly just demands should in some form be returned to the nations to whom it equitably belongs.

The Government of China has signified its willingness to consider the question of the emigration of its subjects to the United States with a dispassionate fairness and to cooperate in such measures as may tend to prevent injurious consequences to the United States. The negotiations are still proceeding, and will be pressed with diligence.

A question having arisen between China and Japan about the Lew Chew Islands, the United States Government has taken measures to inform those powers of its readiness to extend its good offices for the maintenance of peace if they shall mutually deem it desirable and find it practicable to avail themselves of the proffer.

It is a gratification to be able to announce that, through the judicious and energetic action of the military commanders of the two nations on each side of the Rio Grande, under the instructions of their respective Governments, raids and depredations have greatly decreased, and in the localities where formerly most destructive have now almost wholly ceased. In view of this result, I entertain a confident expectation that the prevalence of quiet on the border will soon become so assured as to justify a modification of the present orders to our military commanders as to crossing the border, without encouraging such disturbances as would endanger the peace of the two countries.

The third installment of the award against Mexico under the claims commission of July 4, 1868, was duly paid, and has been put in course of distribution in pursuance of the act of Congress providing for the same. This satisfactory situation between the two countries leads me to anticipate an expansion of our trade with Mexico and an increased contribution of capital and industry by our people to the development of the great resources of that country. I earnestly commend to the wisdom of Congress the provision of suitable legislation looking to this result.

Diplomatic intercourse with Colombia is again fully restored by the arrival of a minister from that country to the United States. This is especially fortunate in view of the fact that the question of an interoceanic canal has recently assumed a new and important aspect and is now under discussion with the Central American countries through whose territory the canal, by the Nicaragua route, would have to pass. It is trusted that enlightened statesmanship on their part will see that the early prosecution of such a work will largely inure to the benefit, not only of their own citizens and those of the United States, but of the commerce of the civilized world. It is not doubted that should the work be undertaken under the protective auspices of the United States, and upon satisfactory concessions for the right of way and its security by the Central American Governments, the capital for its completion would be readily furnished from this country and Europe, which might, failing such guaranties, prove inaccessible.

Diplomatic relations with Chile have also been strengthened by the reception of a minister from that country.

The war between Peru, Bolivia, and Chile still continues. The United States have not deemed it proper to interpose in the matter further than to convey to all the Governments concerned the assurance that the friendly offices of the Government of the United States for the restoration of peace upon an honorable basis will be extended in case the belligerents shall exhibit a readiness to accept them.

Cordial relations continue with Brazil and the Argentine Republic, and trade with those countries is improving. A provision for regular and more frequent mail communication, in our own ships, between the ports of this country and the nations of South America seems to me to deserve the attention of Congress as an essential precursor of an enlargement of our commerce with them and an extension of our carrying trade.

A recent revolution in Venezuela has been followed by the establishment of a provisional government. This government has not yet been formally recognized, and it is deemed desirable to await the proposed action of the people which is expected to give it the sanction of constitutional forms.

A naval vessel has been sent to the Samoan Islands to make surveys and take possession of the privileges ceded to the United States by Samoa in the harbor of Pago-Pago. A coaling station is to be established there, which will be convenient and useful to United States vessels.

The subject of opening diplomatic relations with Roumania and Servia, now become independent sovereignties, is at present under consideration, and is the subject of diplomatic correspondence.

There is a gratifying increase of trade with nearly all European and American countries, and it is believed that with judicious action in regard to its development it can and will be still more enhanced and that American products and manufactures will find new and expanding markets. The reports of diplomatic and consular officers upon this subject, under the system now adopted, have resulted in obtaining much valuable information, which has been and will continue to be laid before Congress and the public from time to time.

The third article of the treaty with Russia of March 30, 1867, by which Alaska was ceded to the United States, provides that the inhabitants of the ceded territory, with the exception of the uncivilized native tribes, shall be admitted to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States and shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion. The uncivilized tribes are subject to such laws and regulations as the United States may from time to time adopt in regard to the aboriginal tribes of that country.

Both the obligations of this treaty and the necessities of the people require that some organized form of government over the Territory of Alaska be adopted.

There appears to be no law for the arrest of persons charged with common-law offenses, such as assault, robbery, and murder, and no magistrate authorized to issue or execute process in such cases. Serious difficulties have already arisen from offenses of this character, not only among the original inhabitants, but among citizens of the United States and other countries who have engaged in mining, fishing, and other business operations within the territory. A bill authorizing the appointment of justices of the peace and constables and the arrest and detention of persons charged with criminal offenses, and providing for an appeal to United States courts for the district of Oregon in suitable cases, will at a proper time be submitted to Congress.

The attention of Congress is called to the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the condition of the public finances.

The ordinary revenues from all sources for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1879, were $273,827,184.46; the ordinary expenditures for the same period were $266,947,883.53, leaving a surplus revenue for the year of $6,879,300.93.

The receipts for the present fiscal year, ending June 30, 1880, actual and estimated, are as follows: Actual receipts for the first quarter, commencing July 1, 1879, $79,843,663.61; estimated receipts for the remaining three quarters of the year, $208,156,336.39; total receipts for the current fiscal year, actual and estimated, $288,000,000.

The expenditures for the same period will be, actual and estimated, as follows: For the quarter commencing July 1, 1879, actual expenditures, $91,683,385.10; and for the remaining three quarters of the year the expenditures are estimated at $172,316,614.90, making the total expenditures $264,000,000, and leaving an estimated surplus revenue for the year ending June 30, 1880, of $24,000,000. The total receipts during the next fiscal year, ending June 30, 1881, estimated according to existing laws, will be $288,000,000, and the estimated ordinary expenditures for the same period will be $278,097,364.39, leaving a surplus of $9,902,635.61 for that year.

The large amount expended for arrears of pensions during the last and the present fiscal year, amounting to $21,747,249.60, has prevented the application of the full amount required by law to the sinking fund for the current year; but these arrears having been substantially paid, it is believed that the sinking fund can hereafter be maintained without any change of existing law.

The Secretary of War reports that the War Department estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881, are $40,380,428.93, the same being for a less sum of money than any annual estimate rendered to Congress from that Department during a period of at least twelve years.

He concurs with the General of the Army in recommending such legislation as will authorize the enlistment of the full number of 25,000 men for the line of the Army, exclusive of the 3,463 men required for detached duty, and therefore not available for service in the field.

He also recommends that Congress be asked to provide by law for the disposition of a large number of abandoned military posts and reservations, which, though very valuable in themselves, have been rendered useless for military purposes by the advance of civilization and settlement.

He unites with the Quartermaster-General in recommending that an appropriation be made for the construction of a cheap and perfectly fireproof building for the safe storage of a vast amount of money accounts, vouchers, claims, and other valuable records now in the Quartermaster-General’s Office, and exposed to great risk of total destruction by fire.

He also recommends, in conformity with the views of the Judge-Advocate-General, some declaratory legislation in reference to the military statute of limitations as applied to the crime of desertion.

In these several recommendations I concur.

The Secretary of War further reports that the work for the improvement of the South Pass of the Mississippi River, under contract with Mr. James B. Eads, made in pursuance of an act of Congress, has been prosecuted during the past year with a greater measure of success in the attainment of results than during any previous year. The channel through the South Pass, which at the beginning of operations in June, 1875, had a depth of only 7-1/2 feet of water, had on the 8th of July, 1879, a minimum depth of 26 feet, having a width of not less than 200 feet and a central depth of 30 feet. Payments have been made in accordance with the statute, as the work progressed, amounting in the aggregate to $4,250,000; and further payments will become due, as provided by the statute, in the event of success in maintaining the channel now secured.

The reports of the General of the Army and of his subordinates present a full and detailed account of the military operations for the suppression of hostilities among the Indians of the Ute and Apache tribes, and praise is justly awarded to the officers and troops engaged for promptness, skill, and courage displayed.

The past year has been one of almost unbroken peace and quiet on the Mexican frontier, and there is reason to believe that the efforts of this Government and of Mexico to maintain order in that region will prove permanently successful.

This Department was enabled during the past year to find temporary, though crowded, accommodations and a safe depository for a portion of its records in the completed east wing of the building designed for the State, War, and Navy Departments. The construction of the north wing of the building, a part of the structure intended for the use of the War Department, is being carried forward with all possible dispatch, and the work should receive from Congress such liberal appropriations as will secure its speedy completion.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows continued improvement in that branch of the service during the last fiscal year. Extensive repairs have been made upon vessels, and two new ships have been completed and made ready for sea.

The total expenditures of the year ended June 30, 1879, including specific appropriations not estimated for by the Department, were $13,555,710.09. The expenses chargeable to the year, after deducting the amount of these specific appropriations, were $13,343,317.79; but this is subject to a reduction of $283,725.99, that amount having been drawn upon warrants, but not paid out during the year. The amount of appropriations applicable to the last fiscal year was $14,538,646.17. There was, therefore, a balance of $1,479,054.37 remaining unexpended and to the credit of the Department on June 30, 1879. The estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881, are $14,864,147.95, which exceeds the appropriations for the present fiscal year $361,897.28. The reason for this increase is explained in the Secretary’s report. The appropriations available for the present fiscal year are $14,502,250.67, which will, in the opinion of the Secretary, answer all the ordinary demands of the service. The amount drawn from the Treasury from July 1 to November 1, 1879 was $5,770,404.12, of which $1,095,440.33 has been refunded, leaving as the expenditure for that period $4,674,963.79. If the expenditures of the remaining two-thirds of the year do not exceed the proportion for these four months, there will remain unexpended at the end of the year $477,359.30 of the current appropriations. The report of the Secretary shows the gratifying fact that among all the disbursing officers of the Pay Corps of the Navy there is not one who is a defaulter to the extent of a single dollar. I unite with him in recommending the removal of the observatory to a more healthful location. That institution reflects credit upon the nation, and has obtained the approbation of scientific men in all parts of the world. Its removal from its present location would not only be conducive to the health of its officers and professors, but would greatly increase its usefulness.

The appropriation for judicial expenses, which has heretofore been made for the Department of Justice in gross, was subdivided at the last session of Congress, and no appropriation whatever was made for the payment of the fees of marshals and their deputies, either in the service of process or for the discharge of other duties; and since June 30 these officers have continued the performance of their duties without compensation from the Government, taking upon themselves the necessary incidental outlays, as well as rendering their own services. In only a few unavoidable instances has the proper execution of the process of the United States failed by reason of the absence of the requisite appropriation. This course of official conduct on the part of these officers, highly creditable to their fidelity, was advised by the Attorney-General, who informed them, however, that they would necessarily have to rely for their compensation upon the prospect of future legislation by Congress. I therefore especially recommend that immediate appropriation be made by Congress for this purpose.

The act making the principal appropriation for the Department of Justice at previous sessions has uniformly contained the following clause:

And for defraying the expenses which may be incurred in the enforcement of the act approved February 28, 1871, entitled “An act to amend an act approved May 31, 1870, entitled ‘An act to enforce the rights of citizens of the United States to vote in the several States of this Union, and for other purposes,'” or any acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto.

No appropriation was made for this purpose for the current year. As no general election for Members of Congress occurred, the omission was a matter of little practical importance. Such election will, however, take place during the ensuing year, and the appropriation made for the pay of marshals and deputies should be sufficient to embrace compensation for the services they may be required to perform at such elections.

The business of the Supreme Court is at present largely in arrears. It can not be expected that more causes can be decided than are now disposed of in its annual session, or that by any assiduity the distinguished magistrates who compose the court can accomplish more than is now done. In the courts of many of the circuits also the business has increased to such an extent that the delay of justice will call the attention of Congress to an appropriate remedy. It is believed that all is done in each circuit which can fairly be expected from its judicial force. The evils arising from delay are less heavily felt by the United States than by private suitors, as its causes are advanced by the courts when it is seen that they involve the discussion of questions of a public character.

The remedy suggested by the Attorney-General is the appointment of additional circuit judges and the creation of an intermediate court of errors and appeals, which shall relieve the Supreme Court of a part of its jurisdiction, while a larger force is also obtained for the performance of circuit duties.

I commend this suggestion to the consideration of Congress. It would seem to afford a complete remedy, and would involve, if ten additional circuit judges are appointed, an expenditure, at the present rate of salaries, of not more than $60,000 a year, which would certainly be small in comparison with the objects to be attained.

The report of the Postmaster-General bears testimony to the general revival of business throughout the country. The receipts of the Post-Office Department for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1879, were $30,041,982.86, being $764,465.91 more than the revenues of the preceding year. The amount realized from the sale of postage stamps, stamped envelopes, and postal cards was $764,465.91 more than in the preceding year, and $2,387,559.23 more than in 1877. The expenditures of the Department were $33,449,899.45, of which the sum of $376,461.63 was paid on liabilities incurred in preceding years.

The expenditures during the year were $801,209.77 less than in the preceding year. This reduction is to be attributed mainly to the operation of the law passed June 17, 1878, changing the compensation of postmasters from a commission on the value of stamps sold to a commission on stamps canceled.

The amount drawn from the Treasury on appropriations, in addition to the revenues of the Department, was $3,031,454.96, being $2,276,197.86 less than in the preceding year.

The expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881, are estimated at $39,920,900 and the receipts from all sources at $32,210,000, leaving a deficiency to be appropriated for out of the Treasury of $7,710,900.

The relations of the Department with railroad companies have been harmonized, notwithstanding the general reduction by Congress of their compensation by the appropriation for special facilities, and the railway post-office lines have been greatly extended, especially in the Southern States. The interests of the Railway Mail Service and of the public would be greatly promoted and the expenditures could be more readily controlled by the classification of the employees of the Railway Mail Service as recommended by the Postmaster-General, the appropriation for salaries, with respect to which the maximum limit is already fixed by law, to be made in gross.

The Postmaster-General recommends an amendment of the law regulating the increase of compensation for increased service and increased speed on star routes, so as to enable him to advertise for proposals for such increased service and speed. He also suggests the advantages to accrue to the commerce of the country from the enactment of a general law authorizing contracts with American-built steamers, carrying the American flag, for transporting the mail between ports of the United States and ports of the West Indies and South America, at a fixed maximum price per mile, the amount to be expended being regulated by annual appropriations, in like manner with the amount paid for the domestic star service.

The arrangement made by the Postmaster-General and the Secretary of the Treasury for the collection of duty upon books received in the mail from foreign countries has proved so satisfactory in its practical operation that the recommendation is now made that Congress shall extend the provisions of the act of March 3, 1879, under which